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FROSTY’S RAMBLINGS Hypocrisy on the grouse moor 

Tory double standards over grouse-shooting are blatant and almost unbelievable, says PETER FROST

JUST when I thought Boris Johnson and his Tories’ response to the pandemic could not get any worse, any more idiotic, any more hypocritical, the buggers have proved me wrong. 

Over the pandemic PM Johnson has pronounced: “We are prepared for any eventuality;” “An oven-ready solution;” “One pair of gloves is two items of PPE;” “Stay alert, control the virus, save lives;” “World-beating test, track and trace package;” “It is our patriotic duty to visit reopened pubs;” “A moon-shot;” “A circuit breaker;” and so many more. 

Lexicographers have declared a new verb — to testiculate — to wave your arms vaguely about like Johnson as you talk absolute bollocks.  

He and his Cabinet have been busy blaming somebody else. First it was the young who were to blame. 

“Don’t kill your granny,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock. His and Johnson’s record on care homes means they have rather a lot of grannies’ blood on their hands.

When Johnson came up with his latest Billy Bunter wheeze — “Six of the best” — it was supposed to limit groups of people gathered anywhere together to just six.

It was he said, to be strictly enforced. Sick children’s parties, 100th birthdays, however deserving the case, you would still be limited to just six people. No exceptions.

But there were exceptions. Hunting and shooting fan Johnson ruled there would be no limit on the number of people who could gather at activities like grouse shoots and hunting with hounds. You couldn’t make it up.

In Johnson and Hancock’s view it was perfectly OK for rich people to get out shooting birds and hunting on horses while the rest of us are stuck at home banned from socialising with more than five friends or family. 

I have written before in just how disastrous the entire grouse shooting business is for the environment. 

Grouse moors are often burned to prepare them for shooting. This increases the likelihood of both wildfires and flooding. It releases carbon and dramatically reduces future carbon capture.

Every year half a million red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) are bought in from abroad. 

These are specially bred to fly slow and straight to be easier to blast out of the sky.

Already this year the number of birds of prey slaughtered by gamekeepers has rocketed.  

Gamekeepers get away with a fine easily paid by their employers out of the huge fees — as much as £10,000 per person per day — that it costs to kill grouse.

Rare moorland plants, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals are driven to extinction on the unsustainable monoculture that is a grouse moor.

Despite such environmental damage, the 10 largest English grouse moors are paid more than £3 million in farm subsidies every year. 

Now they will also benefit by being exempt from Johnson’s club of six. 

Johnson and the Tories clearly believe a good three-piece tweed suit and a Barbour coat is virus-proof PPE, and if any of the little corona buggers do get through, the PM will just blast them with both barrels. Toodle-pip. 

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